Wednesday we got together with a group of amazing professionals to breathe new life into the social network that was formerly known as Company of Friends (CoF). Some of you may have seen the tweets about the breakfast invitation.
We pulled it together in a few minutes. I sent the note to the group, and my friend Brenda from Villanova University made a venue available and connected me with Lee at Saxbys Coffee, who brought organic fresh brew the morning of the event.
A few minutes 9 years in the making and things fell into place. It all started with my choice to set aside some time and just do it.
My invitation was simple:
We're in a tough spot right now. Many of us are either putting their
dreams on hold to survive, or are in overdrive to find a new opportunity
because in transition.
I'm an optimist. I think if we resist the urge of falling into the scarcity mindset, we can indeed make the pie bigger for ourselves and everyone else.
Let's do that, together.
We started the conversation on social networking and social media almost 9 years ago, let's continue it at breakfast - as a regular appointment. We will call it the *CoF Social Network Breakfast*.
On Wednesday, as I listened to what each person in the room was sharing about themselves, here's what I heard:
1. Wanting to create something
What's driving people away from many companies are not just the layoffs. It's also the idea that they are mere cogs fulfilling the expectations, and assumptions, of others. I see that all the time even from very smart people.
2. Realizing we're in it together
This is something else that is hard to do in many organizations - working together, sharing, and giving. Somehow personal objectives seem to run counter or be at odds with collaboration. Realistically, it's hard to do on the outside as well.
3. Understanding that what makes us great is what sets us apart
The more we resist the urge to copy someone else, the better chance we will have to become actors of our own destiny. This is one of the conversations I enjoyed with one of my mentors, Skip, who is the founder of Team and a Dream.
4. Knowing we need to believe in ourselves
This is the hardest part. It's much safer to doubt, than it is to believe. Yet, as we went around the room with introductions, more and more voices started growing stronger and clearer - here's what I'm about, here's what I can do, here's what I offer.
5. Owning a piece of the conversation, by choice
And not because of the spreadsheet, or the project plan, or the job description. Determining the value we add and our purpose is important, but not more important than honoring the fact that you (and others) choose to show up as individuals ready to contribute.
Let's stop being afraid to share because someone might steal our idea. If it's any good, you'll have to ram it down their throats anyway. And execution matters - trust your experience. Someone else will not be able to copy who you are and how you can do it.
There is no template, if there ever was one. I'm a contrarian, I made a life out of testing convention and breaking the rules. This post was inspired by the twenty plus new people and friends I had the honor of meeting this week and by something Jonathan wrote last August:
Some people just don’t want freedom of choice though, they want freedom from it. (If that’s your case, your cog will fit nicely in many pre-determined places.)
To that I say, no thanks. What say you?
[image by Richard Binhammer]